Lee Daniels Considers Jussie Smollett a Son
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"I am with him, I can only support him and give him compassion," the show creator says.

Lee Daniels says he supports Jussie Smollett and considers him a son following accusations the actor staged a hate crime on himself.

In an interview with Extra, the "Empire" creator spoke about Smollett and gave details on how the cast of the FOX show are dealing with the aftermath of the scandal.

"The cast is upset, it is a sad time and we are slowly healing," Daniels said. "What I am learning right now is I can't judge, that that judgment is for that man wearing that black coat with gavel and God."

He added, "I can only support him because he is like my son, he is my son, so I am with him, I can only support him and give him compassion."

Jussie made headlines in January when he claimed he was the victim of a racist and homophobic assault. After a weeks-long investigation, Chicago PD claimed the TV star had orchestrated the attack on himself and was accused of paying brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo.

However, prosecutors dropped all 16 charges against him in return for Smollett performing community service and forfeiting his $10,000 bond.

While FOX has yet to renew "Empire" for Season 6, people are wondering if Smollett will be returning to the show if it gets picked up. On Monday, Daniels told TMZ Smollet's fate is currently being discussed "right now."

When asked if he felt scammed by Smollett, Daniels replied, "I feel that there are two judges: God and that man in a robe. So I can't judge, you know what I mean?"

Last month, before Smollett's charges were dropped, Daniels alluded to the scandal in an Instagram video ahead of a new "Empire" episode.

"Oh my God, These past couple of weeks have been a freaking roller coaster," Daniels said in the clip. "Me and my cast have experienced pain and anger and sadness and frustration, and really don't know how to deal with it, ya know?"

In the video Daniels never mentioned Smollett by name, nor did he specify the alleged hate crime Smollett had at the time been charged with having faked. Instead, he simply said that these episodes were filmed "prior to the incident."

The part that appears to hurt Daniels so much is that the scandal is so much not what "Empire" is supposed to be about as a show. "This is not what the show was made for," he said. "This show was made to bring America together to talk about the atrocities that are happening right now in the streets."

It's a show with strong messages and stories about race and racism and race relations in this country. And yet, while Daniels and his team are trying to shine a light on a harsh reality on the streets, it would be a slap in the face for someone on that team to allegedly fake the very kind of hate crimes he's trying to illuminate.

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